A new report from Arthur D. Little, AT&T, Deutsche Telekom Telefónica has urged telecom operators across the world to virtualize their operations.
The report noted that moving to a more virtualized, converged and cloud-based architecture for its access networks, will enable telecom operators to meet three current challenges such as demand growing faster than revenues, technology convergence and the increasing value delivered by third parties within their ecosystems.
The outcome of the report was based on the experience and expertise of the ‘Who Dares Wins.’ It argues that operators need to move to modular Central Office pod (“CO pod”) architectures, replacing traditional access network technologies. This cloud-based approach disaggregates proprietary equipment into general-purpose hardware and reproduces the relevant functions in software managed by standard IT automation tools. This increases efficiency, widens up the range of equipment suppliers, enables greater innovation and allows greater convergence.
It believes that the new CO pod architecture can be used to catapult the telecom fixed and mobile access industry production model into a cloud-like future. Even as the architecture provides a safe place for each operator to innovate and explore new services, and, going at their own pace, to transform skills, operations, and business processes to benefit from improved agility.
Commenting, Tom Anschutz, Distinguished Member of Technical Staff at AT&T, disclosed that the report recognizes that there is still more work to be done. Telecom ecosystems are not yet on a par with IT and web scale data centers, so the industry must work together as a community, in order to move into the future.
“AT&T is trailblazing automation and cloudification, but a trail is not for a single traveler – we realize the strong benefits of working toward these goals with open community collaboration. I hope that this paper attracts more like-minded companies to participate with us.”
Also, Dr. Hans-Jörg Kolbe, Head of Deutsche Telekom’s Access 4.0 DevOps organization notes: “It is important for us to further develop the disaggregated Central Office and cloud technology to broaden our partner community, in order to attract the best technology and thinking into building our future networks based on the Access 4.0 design.”
David del Val, Director of Core Innovation at Telefónica states: “The Who Dares Wins! study leverages our learnings and provides useful references to support the sector in addressing common challenges in its quest to create an environment that can accelerate the creation of new services and revenues.”
Salman Ali, Principal at Arthur D. Little concludes: “More than ever, the challenges facing the industry require fresh thinking. In order to stay competitive in the short term and remain relevant in the long term, the industry must differentiate itself and drive innovation. To achieve this, operators should build new capabilities and regenerate their ecosystems through step out approaches like the Central Office pod architecture.”
Through the report, the joint team has openly shared their current thinking, details of what they are doing and how they have organized their operations around CO pod architectures. The aim is to encourage wider debate and adoption of the concept at both a business and technology level. The team also stresses that the timing is right to move to this new model, given greater focus on convergence and the impending deployment of FTTx and 5G.